RIP Milkha Singh: Flying Sikh Passes Away After a Long COVID Battle

Story Highlights
  • Milkha Singh tested positive on May 19
  • PM Modi calls him a 'colossal sportsperson'
  • Milkha to be cremated at 5 pm on Saturday with state honours

New Delhi: A couple of days after testing negative, the flying Sikh “Milkha Singh” was shifted out of the COVID-ICU but lost the battle due to post-COVID-Complications. 

Milkha breathed his last at Chandigarh’s PGIMER hospital on Friday night, less than a week after he lost his wife Nirmal Kaur, former national volleyball captain to the same ailment. 

 “Dad just passed away,” his son and legendary golfer Jeev Milkha Singh confirmed over a text message.

PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind took to their social media handle expressing condolence to the family.

“In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation’s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians,” PM Modi said in a tweet. “His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions. Anguished by his passing away.” – read PM Modi’s tweet.

Farhan Akhtar, a Bollywood actor who had slipped into the sprinters’ shoes, in his biography Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, tweeted,” A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it’s the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets its mind on something, just never gives up. And the truth is that you will always be alive.”

According to government officials, his cremation will be held in his hometown Chandigarh at 5 p.m. on Saturday with state honours.  Singh is survived by international golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and daughters Mona Singh, Sonia Singh and Aleeza Grover. 

He was the first Indian athlete to win gold in the then British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958. Singh had also won four Asian Games gold medals, including the 200m and 400m wins in the 1956 Asian Games and 400m and 4X400m relay in 1962 Asian Games.

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